In April Swimming Canada released a document outlining new changes to the competition framework that will be effective from 2017-2020 pending review.
These changes are geared towards High Performance Director John Atkinson’s desire to improve the overall success of Canadian swimming at an international level by changing when peak competitions will take place and adapting the current competition schedule to reflect Canada’s goal of being a top 6 medal producing nation in swimming at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Swimming Canada identified several gaps in performance which include low percentage of top 8/16 performers in distance events at senior and junior international competitions, lack of depth in these events, and lack of multi-event athletes to name a few. The new competition framework is designed to target those weaknesses over the next quadrennial heading into the 2020 games, and over the following quadrennial after that towards the 2024 Olympics.
The complete overhaul focuses on creating high performance athletes and as a whole, a stronger swimming program in Canada.
These changes were decided at a meeting in January of 2016 where official technical representatives were invited from the provinces along with a representative from the CSCTA to discuss with Swimming Canada staff the need for competition review. John Atkinson produced the document of discussion.
The following changes were agreed upon at the meeting, however there was no definitive date indicated as to when these changes go into effect:
- No short course times will be used as qualification for Swimming Canada competitions
- There will be two peak windows of competition, March/April and July/August where all competitions which athletes will fully taper for will occur
- The Eastern and Western Canadian Championships which have traditionally taken place in February will be moved to after Canadian Trials which takes place usually during the first two weeks of April
- All Provincial Championships will be moved to fit into the peak performance windows
- The Canadian Age Group Championships will become the Canadian Junior Championships with two age groups for both boys and girls: 13/14 girls, 15/16/17 girls, 14/15/16 boys, 17/18 boys
- Age specific times will be developed for trials in the 14-17 year-old girls category and the 15-18 year-old boys category
- The 50m butterfly, backstroke, and breaststroke will be removed from the Canadian junior championships
The new changes split the season up into two macrocycles (multi-week training programs ending with a peak in performance) and eliminate the option of a third macrocycle in order to encourage coaches to create programs that only offer two peak performances, one in the March/April window and one in the July/August window.
According to the Swimming Canada document, a swim season should be as follows:
- August/September – return to training and start to build both volume and intensity
- October/November/December – training is the main focus with no peak competitions.
- January/February Phase of shifting to preparation for peak competition
- March/April – athletes compete in a prep meet and their peak meet
- May/June – training focused on peaking again in July/August
- July/August – second peak
The graphic above does indicate specific dates that the new competitions will be moved to. Most notably the Eastern and Western Canadian Championships will take place April 20-23, approximately two months after where they’ve taken place in the past.
There are still several steps that will be discussed further before the competition framework is officially decided, including how this will affect swimming in the CIS. Swimming Canada told SwimSwam that it is still currently a “work in progress.”
To see the current document, click here. To see Swimming Canada’s question and answer document referring to the original document, click here.